The brunt of the Claremore Sequoyah offense – at least while senior quarterback Daniel Moniz recovers from a torn ACL on his left knee — will fall on the shoulders of senior running back Garrett Shepherd.
Shepherd (5-9, 200) becomes the focal point of the Eagles’ offensive attack heading into Friday’s season opener at Keys.
In 2012, Shepherd tallied 350 yards on 69 carries in 12 games with two touchdowns.
Going into the season opener, the Eagles will be breaking in McKaine Foster or Benny Sandecki at the starting quarterback position in place of the injured Moniz.
Neither Foster or Sandecki attempted a pass in 2012.
Sandecki appeared in two games with three carries for -8 yards; while Foster played in four games with three receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.
As the starting quarterback in 2012, Moniz carried 230 times for 1,648 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also completed 109-of-208 passes for 1,549 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Shepherd and the Sequoyah offense features a Keys team that finished 6-5-1 in 2012.
The Cougars are coached by Gary Willis and return four defensive starters.
Josh Ferguson (6-0, 180, Sr.) anchors the defense at free safety. Ferguson tallied 101 tackles and had three interceptions last season.
Defensive end Chance Weir (6-3, 230, Soph.) recorded 38 tackles and 4 tackles after starting as a freshman.
On offense, the Cougars welcome back two starters, led by running back (Josh) Ferguson and offensive lineman Hazen Williams (6-7, 260, Jr.).
Taking over the quarterback duties will be Garrett Willis (5-8, 160, Soph.). Willis is the coach’s son and has plenty of experience in knowing Keys’ spread offense.
Rylan Davenport (5-9, 160, Jr.) returns at wide receiver where he had 20 catches in 2012. Davenport will be joined on the outside by Chase Girdner (6-2, 185, Soph.).
According to Gary Willis in the VYPE Oklahoma High School Football preview, “Our offensive game plan is to execute a balanced attack. We’re going to take whatever the defense gives us.”
Note: Sequoyah relied heavily on Moniz in last year’s season opener as the Eagles defeated Keys, 31-10.